Anal Sex

Anal sex, bum sex, sex by the back door, the Greek or Italian way, fudge-packing and sodomy - these are some of the terms used to describe anal sex. It involves anal penetration of the anus (or rectum) by an erect penis or even a vibrator, dildo or "butt plug."

Previously regarded as sexual activity primarily practised by male homosexuals, it now appears to be a fairly common, even acceptable, alternative to vaginal intercourse amongst heterosexuals. The most common questions we get on the show relate to anal intercourse - how to do it, is it dangerous, does it hurt, why do people want to do it, is it pleasurable for the female, and how do I talk my partner into trying it?

This is a very controversial and a very sensitive, even taboo, topic amongst many mature people, and I would not want to offend, but anal sex is also high risk behavior and we have an obligation to provide accurate information so younger people can make an informed decision.

First - anatomy. At the lower end of the bowel, there are two distinct circular bands of muscles, sphincters, one is located about an 1 ½" above the other. These clamp down tight to prevent the passage of feces or gas. The mucous membrane lining of the rectum is not as heavy as the lining of the vagina, so it can tear quite easily and it does not heal as quickly as the vagina. Because feces, loaded with bacteria, are passing by, any tear is vulnerable to infection.

The vigorous thrusting that may occur during anal intercourse can tear the mucous membrane. This can develop into an anal abscess that can become infected - more about that in a moment. Also, if your partner has any of the sexually transmitted infections (STI's), then you could get infected through the tear. So we are talking about gonorrhea (treatable); venereal warts (treatable if external, difficult if up in the rectum); syphilis (treatable); herpes (treatment, no cure); yeast infection (treatable); and HIV and AIDS (treatment but no cure.) You do not want any of these STI's.

Preferably, you're in a long-term, committed relationship, infection free, and practising SAFER SEX.

But wait, there's more bad news. A “fissure” is a tear up in the rectum can develop into a crack, and become infected.

It can gradually extend out through the wall of the bowel and form a channel across, through and into a nearby organ. That's called a "fistula", and it would allow feces to flow from the rectum into the vagina and out.

Repairing tears, fissures and fistulas is delicate surgery and recovery can be long and painful.

Some doctors will tell you that hemorrhoids (piles) could result from vigorous anal sex, and although I have no medical research, I have heard people say that the rectum "gets sloppy", stretched. I am dubious - if this was true, why doesn't it get sloppy with regular bowel movements? With no definitive research, you do the math.

The best prevention is "don't go there". But if you do decide to try it, you and your partner must talk about it beforehand and agree on these points:

1. Your partner must be very, very gentle, absolutely no forced penetration and no vigorous thrusting.
2. You must use lots and lots of good lubrication, (anal lube, not saliva).
3. Your partner must use a condom…all the time, every time.
4. Your partner must respect "stop". If you say ouch, or it hurts, or No or quit… they must stop immediately.
5. It must be understood, if you do not want to have anal sex again, there will be no pressure, no threats and no pleading. NO means NO.
6. Use a well-lubricated condom without spermicide, either on the sex toy or his penis. Spermicide can irritate the rectum.
7. Never shift from anal sex back to vaginal sex without changing condoms. Feces can end up in the vagina and cause infections. And please wash your hands with soap and water after handling the dirty condom or you could still spread infectious material.

There are some who really enjoy giving and receiving anal pleasure; some females feel that they have their best orgasms ever; some females oblige simply because their partner really enjoys anal sex; and for other females, it is just gross, embarrassing or disgusting.

For men who have sex with men, it can be very satisfying sex.

As to why the sudden increase in anal sexual activity, again, I have no studies but I suspect anal sex is the last taboo. Females believe that they won't get pregnant with anal sex. This is true, UNLESS ejaculate flows down over her genitals. Young females believe they are still a virgin if they have bum sex. Basically, this is true, but it is semantics. How much is "if you really loved me, you'd prove your love by doing this?" And how much is proof of power and control, dominant v.s. submissive. And of course, some of it is just good, old curiosity. "Try it, you'll like it."

I get very upset when guys ask, "How can I talk my girlfriend into having anal sex?" My reply: "I hope you can't." Absolutely no coercion, promises, manipulation or threats. It must be mutual with a definite understanding of the "bottom line."

As I write this, I realize that some people will be very offended by the whole topic, but knowledge is a survival skill for the new century and I want people to follow the old Planned Parenthood motto; "Know what you are doing, think ahead, plan ahead, and never let sex just happen".